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Selling New York: People Stop Acting Polite, Start Getting Real

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Last night was another episode of Selling New York, HGTV's reality show shadowing agents from Manhattan brokerages CORE and Gumley Haft Kleier as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here, our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world:

After the pool parties, champagne-soaked open houses and frantic dealmaking on the premiere episode of Selling New York, Chapter 2 was a much more sullen affair, filled with fleeting references to a struggling market. There were two plot lines: CORE's Maggie Kent trying to convince a stickler of a seller to take a $1 million price cut on his hyper-stylized 4,300-square-foot Little Italy loft (above), and GHK's Michele Geddes Peck taking a daffy old shopping guide author with a $2 million budget on a two-day housing hunt.

Notable properties featured: The O'Neill Building, 455 Central Park West, 1255 Fifth Avenue, 57 Stone Street

Celebrities name-dropped: Annie Leibovitz (Yep, that's it. We said it was a quiet week.)

How high-end Upper East Side brokers react to clients' $2 million budgets: "So, she should be able to find something (pauses to vomit in her mouth a little) for that."?Michele Kleier, who, by the way, there just wasn't enough of this episode.

Architecture geek alert: We can't believe it took one full episode and another four minutes for the first Elvis-Costello-glasses-wearing architect to nab some screen time. Here, architect Jody Waites was on hand in photographer Alex Deutsch's Mulberry Street loft to give CORE's Maggie Kent the full walk-through, because it's not like architects have anything better to do these days.

Archigeek on the above kitchen porn: "It's a true restaurant kitchen. It's not, you know, a residential kitchen with a professional look." And yes, he made the air quotes.

Client bits of genius: "I put a lot of time and energy into this space, and If I really calculated the blood, sweat and tears that went into it, I would probably raise the price by another 30%."?photographer guy on his $6 million asking price.

The big rotating mesh panel thingy: Because what, you expect a $6 million apartment to have, like, walls?

Client bits of genius: "I don't want a cookie-cutter apartment. I don't want a high-rise. I don't want to look out the window and see the neighbors. I want something with soul."?Buyer Suzy Gershman during her hunt with GHK's Michele Geddes Peck

Number of times Gershman mentioned her goddamn house in Provence: 3

Possible made for TV moment: Though most of the drama this episode surrounded Alex Deutsch's reluctance to accept a massive price cut, we couldn't find any online evidence that his loft was actually priced at $6 million. In fact, according to StreetEasy's records, CORE raised the price from $4.75 million to $4.9 million when it took over the listing. A gap in the online archives, or some concocted reality TV conflict?

Made for TV moment: When photographer guy doesn't show for an appointment to check out a $5 million cupola apartment at Chelsea's O'Neill Building to compare with his loft, Kent and CORE's John Gomes (see last week's ep) decide to show the place off anyway, client be damned. A more cynical audience might think they did this just to put another fancy CORE listing in front of the cameras, but that's not us. Way to persevere, guys!

Broker bits of genius: "All of these buildings [on West 67th Street] have very narrow kitchens because they were built as artist studios and kitchens were not a big deal to an artist."?Michele Geddes Peck

The Annie Leibovitz Ladder of Thriftiness: According to Peck, the ladder hanging on the wall of the Fifth Avenue (and 107th Street!) apartment they visited belonged to the unit's one-time owner, Annie Leibovitz, who used it to access the loft space. Wait, she went $24 million into debt and never upgraded the rickety old ladder? The creative mind works in mysterious ways.

Manhattan luxury real estate in a nutshell: During Peck and Gershman's visit to a $3 million apartment at 455 Central Park West, we googled the building to read up. The first thing we came across was this True Gotham post from 2006 that begins: "Much has been written about 455 Central Park West, which is a developer's bold attempt to make a top-shelf condo building out of a cancer hospital next to the projects on 105th street."

The face of a man who's just been told to drop the price of his home by a million bucks:

Broker bits of genius: "This is a very good indication that the market is picking up."?Michele Geddes Peck's reaction to her client getting outbid on the 1255 Fifth Avenue apartment. The offer was 30% below the asking price.

Final thoughts: Talk about a downer, no deals made this episode and not one apartment featured has sold in the months since. Er, points for realism? Naturally, one of the few places seen that is still on the market actually had its price recently raised. Maybe photographer guy should go with that 30% blood-sweat-and-tears markup!
· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]

455 Central Park West

455 Central Park West, New York, NY 10025